Surviving Lockdown: 14 Ways to Thrive in Self Isolation
Posted on March 26 2020
As we all adjust the the new normal of staying home more than ever before, we've decided to put together a list of things you can do to help you survive lockdown, to keep your mind right, your hands busy, and your body well.
I think the entire country (world, even!) has been processing all of this and we've probably each felt in different amounts, a strange sense of loss, anxiety, panic, uncertainty and fear. It's completely understandable and valid to feel all of that. But once we've acknowledged that, we can't let ourselves allow these negative emotions take over, which is why actively choosing to pursue a positive outlook for the coming weeks and months is key.
We've devised a list of activities you can engage in whilst social distancing, in order to help you to live well, feel good and maintain as much of a sense of normality a possible. It's ever so important for us to do our bit for the greater good. Staying inside is the best fight against this pandemic, not just for ourselves but for everyone. So keep washing your hands, stay safe, keep your distance, and try out some of these ideas below.
1. Be Thankful
It's been proven that choosing to be actively grateful in life improves physical and psychological health. Incredible really, that something so simple has such a profound effect on our minds and even our bodies. Some studies have shown that being grateful can actually re-wire your brain. So how about starting each morning with a gratefulness exercise - write down as many things as you can think of that you are thankful for on a new page in a notebook. Repeat every day and see how your mindset shifts.
2. Stay Connected
Make time to check in with your pals each day either through phone call, or even better a video call for some face-to-face bants. Being stuck inside, especially if you live alone, can be tough and we all need human contact in our day. Perhaps make it a priority to check in over the phone with your elderly relatives or people who you know who might be struggling with all of this. It makes such a massive difference.
3. Plant Seeds
Plants are amazing, right? They look good, lift your mood and have some surprising health benefits. Have allergies? Well, research has found that rooms with plants in have less dust and mould than those with no foliage. Plus two studies in Norway found that “Keeping ornamental plants in the home and in the workplace increases memory retention and concentration,”, so now we're all working from home, this could really help.
There's something pretty fun about planting seeds and watching them flourish, and learning to nurture a plant may help lower anxiety, and reduce depression. Even if you don't have a garden you can just have a go at this one on your kitchen windowsill with some herbs or chilli pepper seeds.
4. Get Crafty
Unleash your creativity and find a new craft activity to get stuck into. If your life revolves around a lot of screen time, switching off and working with your hands could be so refreshing. A friend of mine is a music producer and spends all his time looking at a computer screen, but has just been given his grandad's wood-turning lathe machinery and is loving having something completely different to engage in. He's been creating wooden bowls and candle holders and all sorts, from home-grown chunks of wood, and is relishing being able to switch off and channel his creativity in a new way and create these beautiful pieces.
For me, I've been making candles since I was a little girl. When I was a kid, my dad helped me melt the hot wax, and we'd spend Sunday nights making candles. It is still something that I've carried on enjoying, and I love crafting something that is so useful in everyday life. I store up all those inevitable dregs of candle wax after I melt any candles at home, and recycle them into new candles. There's something so satisfying about reusing those leftover bits, it feels super eco-friendly.
5. Read More
Swap out a little screen time and instead delve into the pages of an actual book. We could all do with a little escapism so perhaps its time to enter a different fantasy world in new novel? If you're more into non-fiction, why not use this as an opportunity for growth to learn stuff and educate yourself. Treat yourself to a book and place an order online for something you're really interested in, and make space to engage your brain.
6. Learn A New Language
Well, we might be stuck at home, but justthink of those holidays that await after all of this has subsided. I'm not gonna lie, the very thought of drinking Sangria again one day on a sunny Spanish beach is getting me through this very weird scenario we find ourselves in.
Anyway, imagine if you could just roll off some fluent-sounding foreign phrases on your next exotic excursion! Girl, time to put the work in now. Plus, learning a language at any age is like a workout for the brain and increases intelligence. It can also help deter the effects of ageing on the brain in later life. So get yourself on Duolingo and start that workout. (A jug of ice-cold Sangria by a sunny window could really help!)
7. Exercise At Home
Speaking of working out, here's a good idea... start a new exercise routine at home. Who needs the gym (and all the unwanted attention from those sweaty bozos) when you've got Youtube! There are so many great workouts on there and on Instagram to tap into. Check out Trainer Kaitlin on Insta for some exercise routines you can do at home.
Aside from the obvious physical benefits of exercise, it also has a profound effect on your mental health. When we exercise, our bodies release chemicals that can improve mood and make us feel more relaxed. Very useful currently if you're feeling anxious or depressed with what's happening around you.
8. Spring Clean
Blow away those cobwebs, in more ways than one, with a good old spring clean. Having extra time on your hands is a great opportunity to get down to those chores that get forgotten about week by week. Time to channel your inner Mrs. Hinch and Marie Kondo and make your home an absolute haven now you're spending way more time in it.
Plus, you may even notice it has a positive effect on your mood. You've heard the phrase "tidy house, tidy mind", right? Well, yep, there's truth in that. Clutter and mess have been proven to increase stress and anxiety levels. Studies have shown that women who believe their homes to be untidy experience higher levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), and are likely to feel more depressive during the day, with higher levels of anxiety.
So get out a chalkboard or make a list in a sheet of paper, and enjoy that satisfaction of ticking off your to-do list of household tasks at the end of the day.
9. Get Really Good At Cooking
I don't know about you but if I cook, it's late, I'm usually already really hungry and am basically trying to make the quickest thing I can think of. I'll admit I have a few regular go-to meal ideas I fling together with minimal effort. Why? Because life is busy and cooking for one seems like such a chore.
But, I'm realising all of that is not really the best attitude when it comes to overall wellness. First of all, when did we become so busy that taking time over food and enjoying the simple pleasures of preparing a meal, even if it's just for yourself, is seen as something so tedious? Secondly, if we are just cooking for ourselves, why is that any less "worth it" than cooking for a family or a group of friends?
In this period, however long it may last, of social distancing and staying home, and ultimately preventing illness, it's even more important to make sure we are eating well. You and your body are valuable, and taking time to mindfully prepare something delicious and nutritious, building your immune system and giving yourself the best provision in terms of wellness, is pretty crucial.
10. Decorate Your Place
Ok, so you've done a deep spring clean, what next? How about those tedious little fixing tasks around the place that you've been putting off? Or perhaps it's time to consider starting a whole new interior project? Pull out that "bedroom style" Pinterest board you've been working on for months and get inspired. If we're going to be stuck in at home for a while, we might as well spruce things up a bit. Never underestimate the power of a lick of paint and a fresh arrangement of your furniture. Plus if you're a complete beginner, there are tonnes of Youtube tutorials out there. It's empowering to learn news skills, and ever so satisfying when you can see what you've accomplished on the walls in front of you.
11. Play Games
Being stuck inside doesn't mean you can't have fun with your friends. Remember at primary school when it was raining and you had to stay in all through lunch? Wet playtime was all about games. If you live with people, why not arrange a games night and crack out a classic bit of Monopoly or Pictionary? Add in a splash of gin and some snacks and you're ready to party.
Connect with friends outside your household by organising an digital games event. A personal favourite of mine is an app called PSYCH, a call-my-bluff style game which lets a number of friends participate at once (everyone needs the app and a code to join in). Or get creative and host a conference call on Zoom and play something that doesn't involve cards, a board or any materials such as Charades, Two Truths and a Lie, or Never Have I Ever.
12. Shop Small
Whilst all this staying home is probably doing wonders for your bank account due to sheer lack of spending, thousands of businesses around the country are feeling the effect, hard.
Many companies are operating online and still delivering so why not show support to your favourite independent labels, retailers and brands by shopping remotely? Small businesses are run by small teams and your custom is always valued, but never more so than now. Help them too by sharing their social media posts and rating and reviewing with positive feedback on their websites, Facebook pages or places like Yelp.
13. Dress Up
Sounds weird, as nobody's there to appreciate it, but have you thought about dressing up a bit in self isolation? Hear me out. There's something about taking care of your appearance that just helps you feel good. Right?? Sure, we all love a day slobbing about in PJs, no bra, greasy hair in a messy bun, without the first thought of how me might look. But day after day? Nope. Girl. That stuff is killer for your mental state.
I'm not saying you need to apply a full face of makeup every day, but even though you're not leaving the house it's good to get dressed as if you were. It brings a sense of normality to a very abnormal situation.
14. Digital Date Night
Yeah so one major interference of all of this pandemic-induced lockdown is the affect it has on our love lives, right? No more dates for the foreseeable? Wrong! We have the technology to stay connected in spite of social distancing measures, so let's use it. Why not suggest a FaceTime date, light some candles, pour some wine.
Get creative. You can still spend time getting to know each other at a distance, and who knows maybe the slower pace will help weed out some of the internet-dating creeps and help build something actually good?